Safety -- or Swine Flu Follies?

They might have been trying to set a good example, but their kiss in one picture likely would have rendered the flimsy protection against the flu even less effective.

Germ expert Dr. Elaine Larsen, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" that after a few hours, surgical masks start to get saturated and turn into a sponge-like device keeping germs close to the wearer's mouth.

Wet that sponge with a kiss and, well, one can imagine.

"I think that's really over the top," said Schaffner.

Schaffner said the couple's choice to wear the masks on a beach vacation -- kiss or not -- also goes well beyond public health recommendations.

"The first thing we should recognize is that surgical masks are designed to keep the surgeon's germs out of the wound of the patient," said Schaffner, who explained doctors really don't have a measure of how effective the masks are at keeping germs away from a healthy person.

"That's why the CDC does not recommend their [surgical masks] routine use."

ABC's Sheila Marikar and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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